2014 Chesterton Conferences In Poland:
Warsaw and Krakow
SOUTH ORANGE, October 2, 2014 — As part of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture and The Chesterton Review, the Institute announces its upcoming conference series in Poland on the theme of “Chesterton, Distributism and Poland.” (Distributism is the name given to Chesterton’s economic thought which, in a long tradition of Catholic social teaching, prized widespread proprietorship and autonomous communities of local producers and consumers.) The conferences, co-sponsored by the Faculty of Law, University of Warsaw (Warsaw) and the Piotr Skarga Association (Krakow) with support from the American Institute of Polish Culture will take place in:
Warsaw on October 13, 2014
Speakers include: Fr. Ian Boyd, Dr. Dermot Quinn, Jan Majchrowski, Pawl Skibinski, Aleksander Stepkowski, Janusz Szewczak, Magdalena Zietek and mgr Tymoteusz Zych
Krakow on October 16, 2014
Speakers include: Fr. Ian Boyd, Dr. Dermot Quinn, red. Lukasz Karpiel, prof. Rafal Letocha, Arkadiusz Stelmach, Anna Walczuk
Information about the conference can be found at: http://chestertoninstitut.wix.com/gkci-2014poland
The conferences are open to the public and free of charge.
In 2012, the G.K. Chesterton Institute of Faith & Culture, with the help of the American Institute of Polish Culture, sponsored a major two-site conference in Poland devoted to the work of the English writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). Well attended events in Krakow and Warsaw heard talks from a variety of speakers from Poland and the United States who considered the abiding importance of Chesterton’s thought in the Poland of today. A report of the proceedings appeared in The Chesterton Review (Fall 2012).
A key idea to emerge from the conferences was the need for continuing conversation among Polish intellectuals and opinion formers about the central ideas of the Chestertonian intellectual tradition. Only in this way – through the work of journalists, writers, lawyers, teachers, clergy – will it be possible to influence Polish society; a society which, as with other European societies, is now facing serious challenges from secularism and consumerist materialism. This continuing conversation will take the form of a series of “retreats” – a mixture of lectures, seminars, and discussions – to be held in an attractive setting; most likely in a university but conceivably in a religious community or house of prayer.
Having planted the intellectual seed of Chesterton in Poland with the 2012 conferences, the Institute seeks to provide Polish intellectuals and political figures with a venue at which they will address the re-vivifying of Poland’s Catholic intellectual tradition. In addition, it seeks to open and explore links with Russian intellectuals. In this way, we will repeat, but in a dramatically enhanced way, the experience of 2012.
For G.K. Chesterton, Poland stood in the forefront of European nations. He had deep admiration for its culture, traditions, history, and (above all) its heroic Christianity over many years of struggle and oppression. “Poles,” he wrote in his autobiography, “have always had a choice of evils.” Their greatness as a people, he believed, lay in their refusal to accept that choice. Polish decency and dignity moved him profoundly. Polish suffering wounded him to the core. Polish freedom and independence brought him joy. Whether free or in chains, Poland was, for Chesterton, a metaphor for all Christian nations of the 20th century. What Poland had endured, others might endure. What Poland enjoyed, others might also enjoy. An admirer of Poland and also admired there, Chesterton has also been a significant figure in Russian culture. It would be misleading to say that he is as well known in Moscow as Warsaw. Nevertheless, during the dark days of oppression when his works were translated and distributed underground, he became known as “the teacher of hope”: a description of him as valid today (and not only for Russia) as it was forty years ago.
ABOUT THE G.K. CHESTERTON INSTITUTE FOR FAITH & CULTURE
AND THE CHESTERTON REVIEW
IN 2014 —
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS
The G. K. Chesterton Institute, a not-for profit educational organization incorporated in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, is located at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. Its purpose is to promote the thought of G. K. Chesterton and his circle and more broadly, to explore the application of Chestertonian ideas in the contemporary world. The Institute’s work consists of conferences, lecture series, research and writing. The Chesterton Review, founded in 1974, has been widely praised both for its scholarship and for the quality of its writing. Edited by Father Ian Boyd, C. S. B., it includes a wide range of articles not only on Chesterton himself, but on the issues close to his heart in the work of other writers and in the modern